Change UK will be forced to change its name for a third time after a dispute with the petitions website Change.org.
Originally formed in February 2019 by a group of breakaway MPs as ‘The Independent Group’, soon after plans were made to register with the Electoral Commission as ‘Change UK’ in order to contest the European elections in May.
After seeking guidance on the use of its brand name by a party, Change.org lawyers challenged the proposed name with the Electoral Commission. Being too soon before the European elections to register a different one, Change UK signed a legal agreement which ensured that it could not use the name once the elections were over.
The party is now required to apply to change its name by 15thJune, and has done so requesting to be renamed ‘The Independent Group for Change’.
The party of breakaway MPs has had a difficult few months since its launch in February. Alongside the name changes, its preferred logo was rejected by the Electoral Commission. A disappointing showing at the European elections, with just over 3% of the vote and no seats won, was also accompanied by disputes between MPs over whether to support tactical voting for other parties to boost the remain vote.
Just last week, six of the eleven MPs left the party to sit in the House of Commons as independents.
The latest blow came as Chuka Umunna announced that he will be joining the Liberal Democrats, after a strong performance by the party in the European elections. He had been widely expected to be Change UK’s long-term leader.
Despite the setbacks, the party remains focused on moving forward with its agenda, with Anna Soubry taking over as new leader. The official statement regarding the name change added: “We remain determined as a party to tackle the big issues facing the country. Preventing a disastrous no deal Brexit and fixing Britain’s broken politics remain our absolute focus as we begin to build our new policy platform.”